MediaTek raised quite a few eyebrows earlier this year when it announced it would build the world’s first proper ARM octa-core, not a big.LITTLE design. The MT6592 has now popped up on a Chinese site, with the first Antutu results.
It scored 25,496, which places it behind the 1.7GHz Snapdragon in the HTC One, but it’s still a lot faster than the Nexus 4’s Qualcomm APQ8064, although throttling may have something to do with that. The score seems too high, but not long after the results emerged, a number of mobile sites started talking about disappointing results, claiming that MediaTek’s octa-core was somehow supposed to end up on a par with Samsung’s latest Exynos 5 big.LITTLE chip and the Qualcomm 800.
This of course is utter rubbish and FUD of the highest order.
The 28nm MT6592 is indeed an octa-core, but it has eight A7 cores, not a combo of A15 and A7 cores. The A7 is about one fifth of the die area of an A15 and according to ARM it consumes one quarter to one fifth of the power, making such comparisons asinine. In other words, MediaTek’s octa-core should end up a lot smaller and cheaper than a quad A15, maybe even a quad A12. That is why we find the 25,496 result hard to believe – it should be less, not more. For example, the Tegra 4 on Shield hits about 36,000, yet it’s a much bigger chip, on a device with more RAM.
The benchmarked chip ran at 1.7GHz, but MediaTek said the MT6592 should have no trouble hitting 2GHz, which could make it faster than a Snapdragon 600. What’s more, the tested device featured 1GB of RAM, 720p display and a Mali-450 GPU, so it is clearly not high-end.
However, the big problem for MediaTek’s curious new SoC is the sheer number of cores. Most apps simply can’t put them to good use and unless MediaTek has a clever trick up its sleeve, the chip might not be nearly as fast in real world applications. It does look promising in benchmarks, though.
Kaveri is coming in a few months, but before it ships AMD will apparently spice up the Richland line-up with a few low-power parts.
CPU World has come across an interesting listing, which points to two new 45W chips, the A8-6500T and the A10-6700T. Both are quads with 4MB of cache. The A8-6500T is clocked at 2.1GHz and can hit 3.1GHz on Turbo, while the A10-6700T’s base clock is 2.5GHz and it maxes out at 3500MHz.
The prices are $108 and $155 for the A8 and A10 respectively, which doesn’t sound too bad although they are still significantly pricier than regular FM2 parts.
AMD really needs to make up its mind and figure out how it interprets its own roadmaps. A few weeks ago the company said desktop Kaveri parts should hit the channel in mid-February 2014. The original plan called for a launch in late 2013, but AMD insists the chip was not delayed.
Now though, it told Computerbase.de that the first desktop chips will indeed appear in late 2013 rather than 2014, while mobile chips will be showcased at CES 2014 and they will launch in late Q1 or early Q2 2014.
As we reported earlier, the first FM2+ boards are already showing up on the market, but at this point it’s hard to say when Kaveri desktop APUs will actually be available. The most logical explanation is that they will be announced sometime in Q4, with retail availability coming some two months later.
Kaveri is a much bigger deal than Richland, which was basically Trinity done right. Kaveri is based on new Steamroller cores, it packs GCN graphics and it’s a 28nm part. It is expected to deliver a significant IPC boost over Piledriver-based chips, but we don’t have any exact numbers to report.
Demand for Windows 8 may be still somewhat lukewarm, but Dell is maintaining its stance that it is the best operating system for business tablets and plans to roll out more Windows 8-based products later this year, according to a senior executive at the computer maker.
“Our Windows tablets are more secure and easier to manage than Android-based products and iOS-based products [because Windows is] on our tablets,” said Jeff Clarke, vice chairman and president of global operations at Dell. “And we are not going to change that.”
Windows-based devices accounted for just 4.5% of tablet sales in this year’s second quarter, according to research firm IDC. In comparison, Android-based devices had 62.6% of the tablet market and Apple’s iPad had 32.5%.
The slow adoption of Windows 8 tablets is partly due to their high prices, and to the operating system’s lack of mobile apps, analysts say. Windows 8 has also received mixed reviews, with some people citing its lack of a Start button in the desktop mode as a major problem.
But Dell expects demand for Windows 8 devices to pick up with the availability of Windows 8.1, which Microsoft will release in October.
The acquisition, which was first reported by tech journalist Jessica Lessin, follows other recent mapping purchases for Apple: HopStop, another maker of apps for public transit directions; and Locationary, which provides data about local businesses; and WifiSLAM, an indoor location and mapping company.
Apple did not directly confirm its acquisition of Embark, but in an emailed statement said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Apple declined to comment further on the deal.
Apple has faced some serious challenges over the past year in providing a consistently solid mapping product with its Maps app. Last September Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to publicly apologize for a series of issues plaguing the company’s Maps app in Apple’s iOS 6 operating system.
Embark is a company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that makes a mobile mapping app designed to help people navigate mass transit systems. The company’s app provides “tailored trips” specific to the user’s region, along with notifications for late-running trains and other advisories and closures.
Embark’s technology, if it does find its way into a future Apple product, could enhance Apple’s mapping products and make the company a stronger competitor to rivals like Google. Google’s Maps app already offers real-time public transit navigation features, as do some smaller players like iTransitBuddy.
Embark’s app is available for free on the iPhone for 10 transit systems including Boston’s MBTA, Chicago’s L, the New York City Subway and San Francisco’s Bart and Caltrain systems, with more on the way, according to Embark’s website.
It is not clear whether Embark’s app will be shut down as part of the acquisition. The app was still available in Apple’s App Store at the time of this article’s posting.
Embark’s team could not be immediately reached to comment on the deal.
The necromancy department of Apple has been summoning the spirit of Steve Jobs in the hope of turning around its current dismal growth figures. For a while now, even amongst Apple fanboys, there has been a belief that Jobs’ Mob has gone done the tubes since Jobs croaked.
It is a myth of course, Jobs’ specialty was not innovation but to market a working ideas as if it were his own. But either way Apple is attempting to try and convince everyone that the new iPhone was personally designed by its former CEO. Even after being dead for a while now, and having no impact over the disasters the company has since suffered, Jobs apparently was on board for the iPhone 5S.
According to Apple’s government liaison Michael Foulkes, Jobs oversaw the design of two models of iPhone to go on sale after his death. We suspect that it will take full resurrection before anyone takes this particular spin seriously. If Jobs could really see into the future and predict where his toys would be three years after he died, we would have thought he would have also seen that was a stupid idea not to accept conventional medical treatment for his cancer until it was too late.
Intel’s new SSD 530 series was detailed a while ago, but now it is finally official. Intel has formally announced the new drives in three form factors: mSATA, M.2 and 2.5-inch.
The drives will be available in a wide range of capacities, starting at 80GB, through 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB for 2.5-inch drives. As for M.2 and mSATA drives, they will be available in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and 360GB capacities.
Intel’s new 530 drives are based on 20nm MLC flash and the brains behind the brawn come from LSI, in the form of the SandForce SF-2281 controller. Although transfer speeds will vary depending on capacity, the fastest 530-series drives will deliver read speeds of up to 540MB/s and write at 490MB/s. As for random performance, they boast 41k IOPS in random read and 80k IOPS in random write.
Intel also says the 530-series is its most power efficient storage product to date, which is hardly surprising, but it is good news for notebook vendors who will use mSATA units.
ARM’s upcoming ARMv8 architecture will form the basis for several processors that will end up in servers. Now the firm has announced that it will work with Oracle to optimise Java SE for the architecture to squeeze out as much performance as possible.
ARM’s chip licensees are looking to the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture to make a splash in the low-power server market and go up against Intel’s Atom processors. However unlike Intel that can make use of software already optimised for x86, ARM and its vendors need to work with software firms to ensure that the new architecture will be supported at launch.
Oracle’s Java is a vital piece of software that is used by enterprise firms to run back-end systems, so poor performance from the Java virtual machine could be a serious problem for ARM and its licensees. To prevent that, ARM said it will work with Oracle to improve performance, boot-up performance and power efficiency, and optimize libraries.
Henrik Stahl, VP of Java Product Management at Oracle said, “The long-standing relationship between ARM and Oracle has enabled our mutual technologies to be deployed across a broad spectrum of products and applications.
“By working closely with ARM to enhance the JVM, adding support for 64-bit ARM technology and optimizing other aspects of the Java SE product for the ARM architecture, enterprise and embedded customers can reap the benefits of high-performance, energy-efficient platforms based on ARM technology.”
A number of ARM vendors including x86 stalwart AMD are expected to bring out 64-bit ARMv8 processors in 2014, though it is thought that Applied Micro will be the first to market with an ARMv8 processor chip later this year.
The subscription-based GoToWebcast allows users to broadcast unlimited audio and video presentations to live and on-demand audiences that can access them using mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhones and iPads, or Android-based smartphones and tablets.
To simplify administration, GoToWebcast has a five-step wizard that walks users through setting up their event. Users are first asked to schedule the event, including deciding audience size and if the web cast should be available on-demand or live with an archive. Users are then asked to select registration alternatives, multimedia options, choose what content to upload and finally decide on security and email settings.
In addition to audio and video, users can upload presentation documents, chat with attendees, conduct polls and link to social media channels. Citrix didn’t announce any pricing for the new service, only saying that users pay a fixed monthly fee.
The company also released a beta version of GoToWebinar with HDFaces for the 500- and 1,000-attendee plans. HDFaces is a video conferencing technology that lets up to six presenters lead interactive Q&A sessions, host panel discussions, or do demonstrations in high-definition.
The announcement comes after the recently announced availability of HDFaces for up to 100 participants in GoToWebinar and GoToTraining sessions, as Citrix adds high-definition video across its GoTo portfolio.
The three devices will run the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, which powers the Z10 smartphone and the upcoming Q10, which features a physical qwerty keyboard, according to the slide, which first appeared over the weekend on Twitter as @BB10Leaks.
BlackBerry officials didn’t comment on the road map. However, in comments to analysts last Thursday, CEO Thorstein Heins said repeatedly that the company will introduce more BlackBerry 10 devices this year, though he didn’t indicate what form factors the products would feature.
The three new devices shown in the slide include a BlackBerry 10 tablet with a widescreen aspect ratio, as well as a “U10″ phone-tablet, which some call a phablet, and an “R10″ phablet with a physical qwerty keyboard.
The slide indicates that the B10 tablet will ship in the third or fourth quarter, while the two phablets will be released later, with the U10 shipping at the end of the year and the R10 in spring of 2014.
There are no specifications on the slide, but the devices appear to be shown roughly in proportion to one another, with the phablets appearing to be wider than the existing Z10 and Q10 smartphones.
BlackBerry already has a 7-in. tablet called the PlayBook that is more square in shape than the widescreen look of the B10 in the slide. Some analysts and bloggers said it’s possible that BlackBerry is developing a competitor to the various 9-to-11-in. tablets already on the market, including many Android tablets, as well as the 9.7-in. iPad.
“BlackBerry wants to be a full-line competitor, particularly for business users, so they have to have a full line of products to compete head-on with Apple and Android, primarily Samsung,” said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. “I would expect any viable competitor to establish a full line of products touching on all the various preferences of the marketplace, which includes smartphones, phablets and tablets.”
Gold couldn’t confirm whether any of the details in the leaked slide were accurate, but he noted that it doesn’t appear to include the mid-priced smartphones that Heins and other executives have hinted that BlackBerry may launch over the next few quarters.
The PlayBook tablet first went on sale in April 2011, running on what BlackBerry then called the BlackBerry Tablet OS, based on QNX. BlackBerry later said it would merge that tablet operating system into BlackBerry 10. The company also released a major update to the PlayBook tablet operating system in February 2012.
The first release of the PlayBook was criticized for not having native email.
Analysts are not sure that BlackBerry can keep up with production demand for so many new devices that depend on a relatively constrained supply chain for displays and other components. But to boost its global smartphone market share, currently at less than 10%, BlackBerry will need a product lineup with a variety of options.